The European Commission has opened a court case against Austria, Cyprus, Germany, Malta, Poland and Spain on the grounds that their ’national rules include excessive and unjustified obstacles in the area of professional services’.

The problem

The above countries have excessive shareholding requirements – such as the requirement that the professionals should hold 100% of the voting rights and capital in a company, or should have its corporate seat in a given jurisdiction – in place. These restrictions can make a second establishment or cross-border provision of services in these Member States difficult. 

The shareholding requirements and prohibitions of multidisciplinary practices concern architects and engineers in Austria, Cyprus and Malta and minimum compulsory tariffs affetc procuradores in Spain, architects, engineers and tax advisors in Germany, patent agents in Poland and veterinarians in Austria.

The proceeding

The first step of an infringement procedure is a Letter of Formal Notice requiring further information. Member States have 2 months to put their argument forward. 

You can read the European Commission’s press release attached to the article.